Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Reykjavik, 15-December 2015 — A non-interventionist US president, a Peronist Catholic pope, and a right-wing military dictator exalted by the Latin American left was bound to be a winning ticket.
And so it has been. One year after a new era in Cuba-US relations was announced, it is evident that the Castro regime has secured political stability, a large amount of foreign subsidies, and debt write-offs. Even a dynastic succession is on track for 2018, when Raúl Castro will hand over all the titles he inherited from his older brother Fidel in 2006.
Let us, then, be humble. The elder Castro was right when he decided to impose his regime through violence. The Cuban Revolution was a historical necessity; capitalism remains a fraud which is doomed to failure; and Fidel Castro has been a visionary this whole time.
Let us also be fair with the Cuban people: we are too skeptical, conformist, ungrateful, lazy, and evasive. We weren’t up to the task of being the chosen people to lead the socialist utopia. As soon as we could, we betrayed the island’s proletariat, those who control the means of production, to seek refuge in air-conditioned Hialeah shops.
It is no coincidence that the US-Cuba rapprochement was announced on Pope Francis’s 79th birthday, December 17. Havana generals and Wall Street bankers will pat themselves on the back since their secret deal is close to fruition. The White House’s ideological blindness has enabled this pact to go forward in spite of recalcitrant critics’ insistence on calling tyranny by its name.
Both in Cuba and abroad, speaking of fundamental freedoms is counterproductive at this point. Those of us who have lived 57 years under a regime with no respect for human rights shouldn’t be so impatient when the transition toward post-Castroism is around the corner!
During the last year, the number of arbitrary detentions, beatings, and imprisonments without charges or trials has increased exponentially. Censorship in Cuba has become so blatant that the regime even targeted officially recognized artists such as Tania Bruguera and Juan Carlos Cremata.
Let’s put things on a balance: both the United States and Cuba now have embassies in each other’s capital. Their doors have closed on Cuban civil society and opposition groups, but this “milestone” has produced a guilt-ridden hysteria among US academia and media-types.
Americans can also send instant messages and snail mail to Cuba (so that the political police can more easily read it with impunity). Meanwhile, Cuba’s Computing and Communications Ministry refuses to offer private internet services. They don’t want users’ money; they want the submission of their thought.
Large cruise ships — Granma’s of grand glamour — are soon to arrive in Cuba, but the government still doesn’t allow its citizens to enter their own country by sea. That’s our punishment as the proletariat’s pariahs. Nobody cares about the apartheid of a people ever in diaspora, men and women forced to use the Cuban passport even when some hold dual citizenship. And even with that document in hand we can’t permanently reside in our own country.
The new rules establish that no foreign investor can be of Cuban origin. The Castro gerontocracy has always been motivated by contempt and distrust rather than by profits.
But such details will be ironed out during the orchestrated transition towards a “post-Castro” Cuba. The United States still has a lot to yield to the Castros; Washington still hasn’t turned over Ana Belén Montes, the Cuban spy who infiltrated the Pentagon’s higher echelons and is serving a 25-year term. It should be a piece of cake, since Obama has already released five of Havana’s hit-men, some of them with life sentences.
The first anniversary of Cuba’s deal with the United States signals a new phase in the communist revolution. It leaves the world a wonderful lesson: those who kill more, win; those who win, are legitimate; the dead are just a myth made to fit into the mass-media’s narrative; and those whom Castro doesn’t like, the totalitarian regime will destroy.